FAQ's

Housing Choice Voucher Program

How is the Housing Choice Voucher Program funded?
The MMHA and HUD enter into Annual Contributions Contracts (ACCs) that provide the funding for the Program.

Why does it take so long for an applicant to receive rental assistance?
The MMHA has a limited amount of funding available based on the ACCs with HUD. Currently, the MMHA can provide rental assistance to over 600 County families. Currently all slots are filled, and the waiting list is closed. Participants already receiving rental assistance may move with continued assistance.

Tenants

How can I verify if one of my tenants has applied for the Housing Choice Voucher Program?
If an applicant provides the MMHA with written authorization to release this information, the MMHA can confirm his or her application date when an inquiry is made.

How do I find out if someone who is interested in renting my unit is currently in the Program.
A participant in the Program will have an executed copy of their Housing Choice Voucher form.

Who selects the tenant?
The landlord selects a tenant based on the same criteria they select other tenants. The screening process should be consistent with other applicants who do not have a voucher.

Are there any other reasons to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Program regarding tenants?
Yes, there are many. Perhaps the most important is the value of the Program to the tenant. If the tenant violates the terms of the lease with the landlord, the tenant could lose the Housing Choice Voucher. This is very significant. Oftentimes MMHA staff will contact a tenant when a landlord advises the tenant is violating the lease. This often leads to the tenant correcting the issue.

Can I evict a tenant?
Yes. If the tenant materially violates the terms of the lease (e.g., fails to pay their share of the rent, damages the property), the terms of the lease can be enforced just like any other lease.

Rent

How much rent can I receive?
Under the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, the rent amount must be comparable to similar units in the area and at a level where the client's portion of the rent does not exceed 40 percent of their adjusted monthly income.

How are utility allowances calculated for tenant-paid utilities if a landlord doesn't use actual bills?
The MMHA establishes an allowance by applying current utility rate information to average consumption.

Can't I charge more rent for a non-Housing Choice Voucher renter?
Perhaps. Approved rent amounts are based on the type of unit (e.g., a house), the size of the unit (number of bedrooms and/or square footage), its condition, and any amenities offered (e.g., air conditioning). Even if a non-Housing Choice Voucher renter does rent your unit, it's likely the Housing Choice Voucher tenant will reside in the unit, on average, far longer. This leads to a lower unit turnover, lower operating costs, and a better bottom line for landlords.

Can I still get a rent increase each year?
Yes; rent increases must be approved by the Housing Authority and must be reasonable. Small annual increases are typically not a problem.

Inspections

How soon can an inspection be done on a unit? How much time are landlords given to make any needed repairs?
Within five days of receipt of a completed Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA) form, the MMHA will complete an inspection of the unit. Following the completion of an inspection, a landlord usually has 5-7 days to complete repairs. A reinspection is made to check for the completion of repairs prior to the execution of the HAP Contract or disbursement of funds.

What type of inspection does the property have to undergo?
The inspection looks at basic health, safety, and building items. This is a basic inspection of observable elements (working windows, railings on stairs, etc.). The inspections can also provide landlords with a "heads up" on a potential problem. A list of typical fail items includes non-working smoke detectors, non-working appliances, utilities not turned on, or a leaking plumbing fixture.

Lease and Paperwork

Do I have to use a special form of lease?
No. You can use your typical form of lease. All that the lease needs to do is outline the term of the lease being one year, note the agreed upon rent, and identify who is responsible for utilities and maintenance.

Isn't there a lot of paperwork associated with the program?
No. The landlord and particpant complete a Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA) form, which provides basic unit information such as unit address and type, rent and security deposit amounts, number of bedrooms, utility responsibility and proposed effective lease date.

After the unit passes inspection, the landlord and particpant execute a typical lease. Landlords also sign a contract for assistance payments from the Housing Authority. The Housing Authority only requires two other items. One is IRS form W-9 and the other is a form allowing the Authority to remit its payment via direct deposit to the Landlords bank account around the fifth of each month.